IRS Scams have been in the news, lately, and the IRS has posted several helpful tips on its website. See: IRS Scams.
This day and age, taxpayers should be aware of both PHONE and USPS (Mail) scams which aggressively demand payment “or else.” Personally, I have received phone calls with an IRS caller-ID, where the pre-recorded message informed me that there was a warrant for my arrest and I needed to call a number, immediately, to make a credit-card payment of my taxes. A number of my clients have called me in a panic with similar stories.
Additionally, the IRS uses automated systems to mail taxpayers notices of payment due, and the IRS has stepped up their enforcement of penalties and interest for late filing of returns.
Most taxpayers are unusually fearful of the IRS and any correspondence from the IRS. Unfortunately, many people choose to ignore those letters – some of which may be legitimate.
I encourage my clients to contact me and provide copies of ANY correspondence they receive from the IRS (even – or especially – if they think it’s a scam). I can tell, immediately, if there is an issue that needs to be addressed and can usually help the taxpayer resolve the matter quickly.
On the other hand, sometimes the IRS catches its own mistakes. Recently, a client provided me with a letter assessing penalties for the late filing of a zero-due return (no taxes were due with the return). By the time they got the letter to me and I determined that they had – in fact – NOT filed the return late, they called me and let me know they received a follow-up letter from the IRS confirming that their tax account was not delinquent.
What is the moral of this story (and post)?
If you receive any PHONE CALLS from the IRS, assume that they are a scam.
If you receive any LETTERS from the IRS, contact your friendly tax or legal professional for more information, and to confirm whether there is any action you need to take. Better safe than sorry, and sometimes there is an easy and quick fix.